NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy — U.S. Marines and sailors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa rapidly departed Sigonella, Italy, in order to occupy a training compound serving as a simulated American Embassy, July 6-9, 2015, at an Army training facility in Baumholder, Germany.
More than 78 members of the SPMAGTF boarded a plane to Baumholder and patrolled into the urban training facility, where they set up communication and defenses to protect the notional American personnel and assets. The full-mission rehearsal demonstrated the unit’s ability to deploy to conduct embassy reinforcement and validate the communications capability of the platoon.
“This is the type of mission is what we’ve been training to since before we deployed to Sigonella,” said Staff Sgt. Edward Erdmann, the platoon sergeant. “The training was a good test for the Marines because they didn’t know what to expect, and the unexpected is what we need to train to.”
Part of the unexpected was provided by a team of Army Green Berets, who provided an opposing force for the Marines securing the embassy. Throughout the training, they provided situations for the Marines to react too. Additionally, the Green Berets gave special instruction to 16 of the Marines in close quarters combat and combat marksmanship.
“The hospitality of the was more than we could have asked for,” said Erdmann. “If we needed or wanted something it was there.”
One of SPMAGTF-CR-AF’s missions may be to reinforce a U.S. Embassy during a time of crisis. They began training to this mission prior to deploying and at various locations across Europe. The success of this culminating exercise hinged on the ability of the Marines to quickly make adjustments as the mission dictated.
“Even little things like the size and layout of the training location forced to make adjustments, which they handled extremely well,” said 1st Lt. Chris Posadas, the platoon commander. “Our ability to adapt allowed the entire platoon to make the movement to Germany with all their equipment, establish security at the embassy, and return to Sigonella with all personnel and equipment, distinctly demonstrated the success of the mission.”
By Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman, Marine Corps Forces Europe